What to Expect at a Hearing Test
1. A health history
We'll ask for a little information that will help us take care of your hearing needs. Through this evaluation, we will obtain the required knowledge to make the right decisions about the hearing aid features and functions that are better suited to your particular hearing loss. We'll also ask you questions to rule out other causes of any hearing loss you may have.
2. Ear examination
This procedure starts with a look of the outer ear before examining the inner ear with an otoscope, a portable device that you most often see when you think of an ear exam.
Physical inspections can identify damage to cochlear hair cells, detect skin abnormalities, and check for other potential problems. In some instances, hearing issues can be due to nothing more than wax buildup. The use of an otoscope helps us to confirm or reject this possibility.
3. Hearing Tests
The hearing check is most likely to take place in a small room that is almost anechoic. This word means that there are no sound reflections in the room. It will be separated from noises from HVAC and other machines, creating a shallow "noise floor," which is what we call the frequency of all unwanted sounds in space.
You'll be made to wear headphones to receive the sounds we play as part of the test.
The tests themselves are painless and non-invasive. We will play sounds in the headphones from a system called an "audiometer" and ask you to respond to them.
Two main tests are likely to be performed: a pure-tone audiometry and speech audiometry.
Pure-tone audiometry requires the amplification of only tones or "sine waves" in the headphones. We will ask you to signal when you hear a sound, whether it's in one or both ears. The tones are going to be at a range of frequencies. The aim is to assess how much you can hear in certain pitches. If you need hearing aids, this knowledge would be helpful in "fitting" them, which is the term for designing them to work better on specific frequencies or sound patterns than others.
Speech audiometry can measure the minimum degree at which speech is intelligible to you. We will play speech at various levels and ask you to repeat what you hear. Some rates can be too quiet, others too loud. We're looking to figure out the most suitable level for you to hear speech, which would again be useful for determining your hearing level.
If deemed appropriate based on your case, a tympanometry procedure can also be performed. The majority of hearing loss is sensorineural, arising from gradual, progressive damage to the cilia (small hair-like nerves) within the cochlea in the inner ear. Tympanometry is helpful if it is believed that your hearing loss is due to issues in the middle ear (the ear or the ossicles, the small bones that vibrate in response to the voice). You will be fitted with a soft plug for this test that adjusts the pressure in your middle ear. Like the other tests we perform, this is usually a painless procedure.
4. A review of your audiogram
A review of your hearing findings will be clarified to you once the test has been completed. If a hearing loss is present, we will address the nature and extent of the hearing loss, followed by any applicable recommendations.
Undetected and untreated hearing loss may have a significant effect on the quality of life of an individual. Getting a simple hearing exam accompanied by an annual check is an essential step to ensure that your hearing safety is maintained. Our team is here to put you at ease and answer any questions you may have.